Lionsgate Films first announced two years ago that it had intentions to remake and modernize the classic film Dirty Dancing. In the original film, Baby (Jennifer Grey) was the daughter of a well-to-do family on vacation in the Catskills when she meets and falls for local dance instructor Johnny(Patrick Swayze). Baby and Johnny were two people of opposite class who fell in love despite the judgements of those around them. Maybe that made it all the richer! Audiences certainly had the time of their life watching them.
Kenny Ortega was the choreographer of the original film and was recruited by Lionsgate to be the new film’s director. Ortega recently directed the Michael Jackson documentary This is It as well as the first two High School Musical movies.
Eleanor Bergstein wrote and co-produced the original film and Lionsgate has asked Bergstein to return to produce the second time around. Julia Dahl (writer of Uptown Girls) has been slotted to pen the new script. It seems that they are trying to bring a touch of the old crew and magic into this new film. Let’s hope it makes for a more authentic remake than the 2004 ill-received Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights which told a similar story but set in Havana on the eve of the Cuban Revolution.
Dirty Dancing is one of the most popular of the Lionsgate Films catalog having sold more than 10 million units. The original film was made fore a mere $6 million and grossed $214 million worldwide, boosting its cast to eternal stardom. The recent tragic passing of Swayze and publicity of Jennifer Grey’s turn on Dancing with the Stars, certainly puts the franchise at the forefront of the public’s mind.
Still, the remake will have a tall order to fill in trying to capture the chemistry and dancing talent of its original cast. Ortega has said he plans to utilize classic songs from the sixties combined with hits from the original movie and current material. He told the press he looks forward to discovering the next ‘breakout triple-threats’.
The announcement is sure to pull at the emotions of long-time fans, including myself, questioning the need to remake the 1987 hit when the original certainly stands the test of time.’Nobody puts baby in the corner’ but apparently Lionsgate will be putting her back on the hot seat. One thing is for sure, all the Swayze and Grey wanna-be’s better be practicing their pachanga (which Johnny hated!) if they hope to live up to the bar set by their predecessors.